The Missionary Self-Perception of Pentecostal/Charismatic Church Leaders from the Global South in Europe

Bringing Back the Gospel

Series:

In a situation of growing interest in the religion of migrants, there are still few publications dealing with pentecostal and charismatic Christians from the global South and the churches they have been starting all over Europe. This ground-breaking study, based on extensive interviews conducted during a nine-year research period encompassing more than 100 churches, describes how pentecostal /charismatic migrant pastors live out their pastoral role, how they construct their missionary biographies, and how they conceptualize and practice evangelism. The result is a comprehensive portrait of an immigrant group which does not define itself as victimized and in need of assistance, but as expatriate agents with a clear calling and a vision to change the continent they now live in.

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Biographical Note

Rev. Claudia Währisch-Oblau, Dr. theol. (Heidelberg University), is a member of the Management Team of the United Evangelical Mission and heads its Evangelism Department. She has published a number of articles on pentecostal / charismatic migrant churches in Europe

Review Quotes

"Immerhin kann sich durch die englische Publikation die Internationale theologische Wissenschaftsgemeinde ein Bild über die Verhältnisse in Deutschland machen und ihre Schlüsse ziehen." in: Moritz Fischer, Interkulturelle Theologie Vol. 1 (2010).

"Währisch-Oblau's book (...) makes an important contribution as a detailed and comprehensive study on Christian migration and Pentecostal/charismatic ministry from the global South to the North. (...) Her work critically evaluates the motivations and implications of this missionary endeavour, and lays a significant foundation for ongoing scholarship." Sara Fretheim, Mission Studies, Vol. 33.3 (2016).

"Es handelt sich um ein Werk von grundlegender und richtungweisender Bedeutung, auf dessen Konsultation niemand, der oder die sich mit dem Phänomen von christlichen Migrationsgemeinden aus dem globalen Süden in Europa beschäftigt, wird verzichten können. Wer mit dem bisherigen Engagement und den Publikationen von Claudia Währisch-Oblau im Bereich der Migrationsgemeinden in Deutschland vertraut ist, den oder die wird diese Einschätzung kaum überraschen. Die Dissertation ist nicht nur das Ergebnis einer zeitlich umgrenzten Feldforschung im engeren Sinne, sondern sie bildet gleichzeitig den vorläufigen Abschluss einer über zehnjährigen intensiven, kontinuierlichen wie Früchte tragenden Zusammenarbeit mit diesen Gemeinden im erweiterten Ruhrgebietsraum. Kaum jemand anderem wäre es möglich gewesen, eine solche Arbeit vorzulegen, setzt sie doch neben der akademischen Kompetenz der Forscherin wesentlich ein tiefes Vertrauensverhältnis zwischen ihr und den befragten Gemeindeleitern in der Migration voraus. Die Autorin vermag aus einem reichhaltigen Erfahrungsschatz zu schöpfen." Werner Kahl, Interdisziplinäre Arbeitskreis Pfingstbewegung, 2011.

Table of contents


Acknowledgements ... ix

1. Methodological reflections ... 1
1.1 Introduction ... 1
1.2 The UEM Program for Cooperation between German and Foreign Language Churches, 1998 – 2008 ... 8
1.3 Other European Protestant church responses to migrant churches: a short overview ... 12
1.4 Description of my research ... 18
1.5 Reflecting my own role as researcher and agent ... 22
1.6 Interpretative paradigms ... 25

2. The field of study ... 33
2.1 Terminology: Migrant churches ... 33
2.2 Delimiting Pentecostal / charismatic ... 36
2.3 Constructing a Pentecostal / charismatic discourse field ... 39
2.4 Migrant churches: Categorizations ... 47
2.5 Historical dynamics: Foundation and development of migrant churches ... 53
2.6 Migrant churches as part of a globalized discourse network ... 56

3. The role of the pastor: the relationship to one’s own congregation ... 61
3.1 The pastor as father and shepherd ... 62
3.2 Defending one’s call: Biographical stories as legitimation narratives ... 83
3.3 Mediators of divine power in a market situation: Observations and analysis of the pastoral role ... 116
3.4 Summary: Mediators of divine power in a market situation ... 130

4. Following the call: Expatriation narratives ... 133
4.1 Theoretical framework: Some considerations ... 133
4.2 Intertwined call and expatriation narratives ... 143
4.3 Expatriation as consequence of the call ... 178
4.4 Expatriation and call narrative not connected ... 208
4.5 Expatriation narratives: some final observations ... 220

5. Being on a mission: the relationship to the outside world ... 225
5.1 “What is your mission?” Observations from the short interviews ... 225
5.2 Missionary practice: Evangelizing Germans ... 229
5.3 Conceptualizing evangelism in interdenominational dialogue: the long interviews ... 236
5.4 Imagining Germany and Europe ... 254
5.5 Conceptualizing evangelism in the global Pentecostal network: The ‘spiritual warfare’ paradigm ... 271
5.6 Conclusion: Evangelism, inculturation and clashing paradigms ... 301

6. Consequences ... 305
6.1 The current situation ... 305
6.2 Dialogue fields: a description ... 311
6.3 Ecclesiology and the politics of difference: Who defines Christianity in Europe? ... 323
6.4 The functional question: Does a missionary self-image further or hinder integration? ... 329
6.5 The theological question: Are German churches ready to be evangelized? ... 334

Appendix: Expatriation narratives ... 337

Bibliography ... 409

Subject Index ... 425
Index of Names, Places, and Terms ... 427

Readership

All those interested in migration and religion and / or pentecostal / charismatic theology and practice, as well as researchers in social sciences and theology, and church policy makers.

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